NEW BRITAIN – A recent report from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities offered welcomed news for city taxpayers, while property owners in other area cities and towns may be displeased with the findings.
According to the CCM, property tax rates increased in nearly 80 Connecticut municipalities for fiscal year 2019-20, according to an analysis released Aug. 26.
However, the Hardware City saw no property tax hike, while those living in the neighboring communities of Berlin, Newington and Bristol did not escape a tax increase.
Property tax hikes took place in 79 municipalities across the state; 59 of those 79 towns had tax hikes greater than the latest 1.6 % inflation rate reported for Connecticut.
The following are the changes in mill rates seen the area:
. New Britain’s mill rate remained the same at 50.5.
. Bristol’s mill rate increased from 36.88 to 38.05, a 3.17 % increase
. Berlin’s mill rate increased from 32.5 from 33.93, a 4.4 % increase
. Newington’s mill rate increased from 38.5 to 39.45, a 2.47 % increase.
. Plymouth’s mill rare increased from 39.69 to 40.63, a 2.37 % increase.
. Plainville’s mill rate increased from 33.84 to 34.62, a 2.30 % increase.
. Southington’s mill rate increased from 30.48 to 30.64, a 0.52 % increase.
“The need for adequate state aid to achieve significant property tax relief - along with other diversified local revenue sources and greater authority to contain local costs - is undeniable,” said Joe DeLong, CCM executive director and CEO. “Nearly 100 towns and cities were forced to increase their property tax rates because of cuts in some state aid programs, and in spite of sustained state aid in others areas for local governments.”
Thirty towns were able to sustain the same mill rate and 13 towns were able to slightly reduce their mill rate.
“We are proud to be among the handful of towns who were able to keep taxes down this year,” said Mayor Erin Stewart in a statement. “Balancing a $242 million budget and keeping services intact as residents have come to expect them is no easy task. It requires strong leadership, planning, sound fiscal management, and the ability to negotiate and work with a variety of parties. We will continue to pursue the creation of new revenue streams to help keep the tax rate down in the future. “
Statewide, local property taxes now total more than $11 billion, an increase of at least $500 million since 2017. That exceeds the state’s largest source of revenue, the personal income tax, which yielded nearly $10.8 billion in 2018 (the latest year for complete data).
“Some enhanced state aid enacted over the last several state legislative sessions has enabled some already high-tax communities to hold the line on property tax increases, or in some towns, to actually reduce taxes,” said DeLong. “Despite this, some communities still have extraordinarily high property tax rates. Relying on the property tax to continue to fund local government is unsustainable.”
The per capita property tax burden in Connecticut is $2,847, almost twice the national average of $1,518 and the third highest in the nation.
The property tax in Connecticut is depended upon to raise 72 percent of all local revenues.
State aid to municipalities in Connecticut still represents only 23.4 percent of municipal revenues; that is well below the national average of 32.9 percent, and ranks Connecticut 40th in the nation in state aid to local governments, the CCM reported.
And, Connecticut is one of only 15 states that limits municipalities to raise revenue only from the property taxes.